- Watch a show at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art
- Four days of dressage lessons in small groups of 2-4 riders (one or two lessons each day by prior arrangement)
- Ride beautifully school Lusitano dressage horses
- Non riders are welcome
Day 1 1 : Europe - LISBON - 1 or no lessonAlcaincaYour flight to Lisbon can arrive at any time (not included), although please note that there is no discount if you choose to arrive too late for dinner.
You will met on arrival at Lisbon airport and transferred to the equestrian centre which is located just 25km from Lisbon. Alternatively you may prefer to hire a car and drive yourself to the centre - we can provide driving directions.
For those who have booked two lessons a day, and after settling into your room (for arrivals before 2.00 pm), you will have your first dressage lesson this afternoon. If you arrive too late, this lesson will not be reimbursed to you.
Those who have booked one lesson a day will have time to settle and relax before dinner.
Day 2 2 : DRESSAGE - 1 or 2 lessonsAlcaincaYou will have pre-booked either one or two lessons today.
Each lesson comprises 2 - 4 riders and lasts 1 hour 30 minutes.
The morning lessons start around 09:30 and the afternoon lessons start around 16:00, although this can vary depending on the time of year and weather.
Lessons usually start in walk with the chance to practice shoulder-in, leg yielding and travers before moving onto trot and canter. For those with prior dressage experience if may be possible to practice Spanish walk, piaffe, passage or pirouettes. Classical dressage is particularly focused on lightness, beauty and expression.
If you have chosen only one lesson today, then this could be either in the morning or the afternoon and the rest of the day can be spend relaxing at the centre, by the pool or perhaps off-site visiting Lisbon or Queluz.
Day 3 3 :DRESSAGE - 1 - 2 lessonsAlcaincaAgain you will have booked either one or two dressage lessons for today. It is not always possible to request additional lessons once you have arrived so you should be certain to book enough in advance.
Day 4 4 : DRESSAGE - 1 or 2 lessonsAlcaincaAgain you will have booked either one or two dressage lessons for today. It is not always possible to request additional lessons once you have arrived so you should be certain to book enough in advance.
Day 5 5: DRESSAGE - 1 OR 2 LESSONSAlcaincaAgain you will have booked either one or two dressage lessons for today. It is not always possible to request additional lessons once you have arrived so you should be certain to book enough in advance.
Day 6 6 : GOLEGA FAIR - No ridingAlcaincaSpend your morning at Golega Fair watching the locals perform the exercises you were practising earlier in the week. After lunch in Golega you will be transferred back to the dressage centre.
Day 7 7 : GOLEGA FAIR - No ridingYou will depart early from the dressage centre for the 1.5 hour transfer by road to Golega. Today is the national dressage event at the fair - a national contest for Lusitano colts of 3-4 years old. Your guide will help you interpret each of the horses presented and talk through what the judges are looking for.
Dinner and accommodation in Golega.
Day 8 8 : ALCAINCA - EUROPE - 1 lessonAfter one last morning lesson, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Europe.
Dates & prices
- Flights are not included.
- Rates listed include one lesson a day (1-1h30). If you would like your programme to include two lessons a day, the rate is £1395.
- The riding centre will confirm for one person, but the visit to Golega Fair requires a minimum of four people to confirm.
- Dates are flexible and you can arrive/depart on any day and stay for as long as you like, however, you need to arrive at least the day before the planned visit to Golega Fair. Please contact us for a personalised quote.
- There is a single supplement unless you are willing to share with another rider. If you sign up to the ride singularly and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement of approx. £77 for your hotel in Golega only. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you a a later date. Single supplement at the riding school only (6 nights) is £195
- Transfers can be arranged from the airport or Lisbon city centre to the dressage centre at extra cost. From the airport to the centre costs c. £88 return for the vehicle (1-3 passengers); from the city centre to the dressage school costs c. £95 return for the vehicle (1-3 passengers). These are bookable through us. Alternatively you may prefer to hire a car and drive yourself - we can provide driving directions.
- A driver is available during your stay if you wish to take a local excursion, such as to the Portugese School of Equestrian Art, Mafra or Lisbon - these excursions are at additional cost and payable locally.
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.
4 training session during 1:30 (1 session/riding day)
Transfers hotel Golega/Feira de Golega
Double room in Guesthouses at the riding school (6 nights)
Breakfast at Golega
Price doesn't include
Beverage and personal extra
Single room supplement at the riding school
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
Riders who have some prior experience of dressage will get the most from this holiday. An understanding of some basic terms, such as shoulder-in is required. The centre cannot cater for beginner riders. You will be expected to wear a hard hat when mounted and please note that we can not guarantee that your lessons will be with a particular instructor.
Rider weight limit - 89 kg / 13.5 stones. Heavier riders please contact us.
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
Helmets are mandatory. We recommend all our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
In Golega you stay in a standard hotel with twin rooms with private bathrooms.
Breakfast is continental and buffet style.
Lunch is light such as quiche and salad.
Dinner is usually fish or meat with salads and vegetables. The focus is on traditional Portugese cuisine and all is prepared locally by the chef.
All drinks and wine are included.
Winter: 12 - 15c
Spring: 20 - 25c
Summer: 30 - 35c
Autumn: 15 - 20c
There is rarely rain during the summer months, but rain is common in winter and can occur in spring also.
Guide and local team
Mario Cardoso, who speaks English and Portuguese, is specialised in the training of young horses, as well as being a regional champion in Working Equitation.
An accomplished dressage rider, Mario has worked and trained with Bruno Carrilho (owner of the Lusitano sport horse stud farm Quinta dos Cedros), Miguel Ralão (dressage rider, Olympic), João Moreira, José João Dinis, Vasco Freire’s Dressage Plus (one of the most important stud farm of Lusitanian sport of the moment), as well as riding in shows alongside Miguel Fonseca (several times world champion of working horse) across all of Portugal.
Sérgio Henriques, who speaks English and Portuguese, is a rider with extensive experience in the Working Equitation Discipline. He has competed in the National Working Equitation Championship for several years, accomplishing a Bronze Medal in the Portuguese Working Equitation Cup. Currently, he is a judge in the Regional and National Championships and in the Portuguese Working Equitation Cup. He is also a Portuguese Equitation Judge.
More recently, Sérgio started competing in National Dressage Competitions. Sérgio has sought to evolve as a rider, participating in several classes and clinics with the riders, Eng.º Bento Castelhano, Pedro Torres, Jorge Sousa, Miguel Ralão Duarte, and Nuno Chaves de Almeida.
- Helmets are mandatory. Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you take your own helmet to ensure a correct fit.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Long sleeved shirts to provide protection from the sun
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent, particularly in winter
- Waterproof jacket - rain can be difficult to predict and it's better to be prepared.
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long boots, particularly if you are used to riding in them.
- Lightweight shoes for the evenings
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun whilst riding
- Pyjamas etc (something warm in winter as the nights can be cold)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
Other useful items
- Swimsuit - the pool is open during summer months
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)
In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag.
In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
Visa & Health
Visas - you should be aware that the rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
- you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to Portugal and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days
At border control for Portugal, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay, and
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
- Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.
From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.
Please visit for the FCO website for up-to-date information - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal
Addresses of consulates
- Ambassade du Portugal
3, rue de Noisiel
Tél. : 01.47.27.35.29
- Ambassade de France
Rua Santos-o-Velho 5
Tél. : +351 21 393 9100
It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.
There are state health centres throughout the country (generally open from 0800 to 2000) where you can receive treatment for minor ailments and injuries, and major emergency hospitals in large towns which remain open throughout the night.
Even though pharmacies are well stocked, take a decent supply of medication with you, and be aware pharmacies are usually closed for two hours over lunchtime. Carry a legible prescription with you to show that you legally use the medication. If you wear glasses, take a spare pair and your prescription just in case you need to get new glasses made up quickly.
Vaccination against hepatitis B is sometimes recommended.
Budget and money
Euro banknotes come in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500. The highest three denominations are rarely used in everyday transactions. All Euro banknotes have a common design for each denomination on both sides throughout the Eurozone.
The Euro coins are 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, €1 and €2. Some countries in the Eurozone have law which requires cash transactions to be rounded to the nearest 5 cents. All Euro coins have a common design on the denomination (value) side, while the opposite side may have a different image from one country to another. Although the image side may be different, all Euro coins remain legal tender throughout the Eurozone.
Telephone and jetlag
The time zone is GMT +1
Did you know?
Did you know?
Golega Fair has been running since the mid eighteenth century, but up until 1972 it was called the Saint Martin Fair.
The National Horse Fair is run in Golega town every November. Golega has become known as the capital of Lusitano breeding and during the fair, breeders and competitors bring their best animals to parade and be sold. What started as a simple fair has become one of the most beautiful and unique equestrian events in Portugal.
For more information you can visit the fair's own website here.
The dates for each event at the fair are often not released until a few months beforehand, and so the exact itinerary of our riding holiday combining Golega Fair with classical dressage tuition is not available until that point. Our partners aim to ensure that you visit some of the best shows on offer at the fair and so please do bear with us regarding dates and prices if they are not showing. Or contact us to express your interest and we will ensure you are the first to know!
The main difference between the male and female costume is the skirt which has a cut in the middle, opening a slit in the front so that the woman can ride with one leg on each side of the horse. The use of trousers under the skirt seems to have been inspired by an episode that occurred at court in 1766, when the Queen of Portugal, D. Maria Vitoria, broke all rules by riding in the modern style!
In the manufacturing of the costume, hatters, tailors, shoemakers and other craftsmen perpetuate the techniques passed down from generation to generation, all contributing to the true institution that is the Portuguese equestrian costume.